July 16, 1997
ATTN: Patricia Fillippini, Foreperson
1996-97 Santa Barbara County Grand Jury
Grand Jury Room
Santa Barbara, CA 93121
Dear Grand Jury Members:
This letter is in response to the Grand Jury's Interim Final Report "Lompoc Senior Center" and specifically addresses all the Findings and Recommendations (1 through 4) contained in that report.
On July 15, 1997, the Lompoc City Council considered the Grand Jury's Findings and Recommendations and concluded the following:
FINDING 1: The $416,618 from the proceeds of the sale of City property to Pactuco, Inc. in 1990 was designated for a Senior Citizens Facility and was placed in the General Fund.
The $416,618 should be used, in a timely manner, toward the purchase and/or renovation of a property for a Lompoc Senior Center.
RESPONSE TO 1A:
The City of Lompoc agrees with the finding. The City is in the process of purchasing a building which will be used for a Senior Citizens Facility. The $416,618 will be made available for necessary remodeling and/or renovation.
The interest that the $416,618 would have earned since 1990 should be determined and made available for Senior Programs.
RESPONSE TO 1B:
The recommendation has not been implemented, but will be effective July 1, 1997. There is no record that previous City Councils ever intended that interest earnings were to be set aside for this project. Thousands of dollars in staff time have been allocated to support the efforts of various ad hoc committees in an attempt to bring this project to closure. The interest earnings have been used to maintain essential services during period of economic decline when overall General Fund revenues dictated employee layoffs and reductions in program areas. However, the City Council has directed that effective July 1, 1997 interest earned on the $416,618 will be credited to the Senior Center project.
At the City Council meeting, February 10, 1997, staff presented cost projections that may be invalid because they were based on the square footage of senior centers and used comparisons with cities with larger populations than Lompoc.
The City Council should perform a realistic cost benefit analysis of projected revenues and expenses, using true comparisons with cities of similar populations and needs and should prepare an operating plan and budget for any property under consideration.
The City disagrees with the finding. Cost projections like revenue projections are estimates only and can fluctuate depending on numbers of variables. The City's estimates were developed using a formula which is generally accepted by the industry. Staff will prepare an operating plan and budget for the new facility.
Senior programs in the City of Lompoc have been fragmented.
The City of Lompoc should invite all of the programs recommended by the Senior Commission in their report to the City Council to relocate to the new center and negotiate agreements with those who are willing.
The City agrees with the finding. The City will consider and evaluate the possibility of centralizing senior services at the new center. In all likelihood the new center will not be large enough to accommodate all who may be interested in relocating; so priorities will have to be established.
If the Valley of the Flowers Half Century Club chooses to remain a separate entity at the current location, that the City offer them the opportunity to purchase the property at fair market value or negotiate a fair market lease. The proceeds from the sale and/or lease of this property should be used to help finance the expenses of the new center.
The recommendation requires further analysis and is currently being evaluated. The City Council is currently considering potential uses of its building currently used by the Valley of the Flowers Half Century Club. The selling of the building is one of the alternatives being evaluated.
That the City include in the planning process for the development of the new center, representatives from organizations that currently provide programs for seniors. In this way, duplication can be minimized and collaboration and coordination can be instituted to insure efficient cost-effective delivery of services and conservation of resources.
The City agrees with the finding. The City intends to implement this recommendation. Initial contact and preliminary discussions have already taken place.
Many successful senior programs operate with a small paid staff and a large volunteer program.
In planning for staff for the new center, the City should consider hiring a coordinator of volunteers to recruit, train and supervise senior volunteer staff who would provide services such as reception, light maintenance, etc.
The recommendation has not been implemented, but will be in the future. The City plans on making extensive use of volunteers to staff the senior facility. The City Council has directed staff to consider the possibility of subcontracting with a nonprofit agency to run the day-to-day operations of the Center. Staff will be returning to Council with a cost analysis and recommendations.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact City Administrator Frank Priore or me.
Thank you for your report and serving the citizens of Santa Barbara County.
Joyce Howerton, Mayor
City of Lompoc